Rev. Alex Sokiri and his wife Harriet fled an armed raid on their town in Kajo Keji in South Sudan in July 2016, forcing them to leave all their possessions behind. They travelled on foot to the Morobi Refugee Camp in Northern Uganda where they, and others from their church and community, struggled to adapt to life in the camp that has now been their home for the past two years.
“In the camp life was very hard,” Harriet said. “Some people came to us wanting to commit suicide because they had left everything. They had no food, no shelter. They were completely traumatised and discouraged.” Alex drew together other pastors from across the camp and together they established small church plants to help people gather into supportive communities. “There were many mental health issues,” he said. “We encouraged the people with the Word of God and restored their hope.”
Alex and Harriet use the eVitabu mobile app, which means ‘books’ in Swahili. This app contains a wide range of theological resources and Bible versions. Having fled without possessions, Alex has found the loss of his theological library challenging. However, the eVitabu app developed by the African Pastors Fellowship (APF), which is loaded onto a solar-powered tablet, is enabling him to teach, prepare sermons, and inspire and equip fellow pastors in the camp.
“The app helped us with ideas for counselling, farming, youth ministry, peace-building and church planting. It brought many changes in our life and the life in the refugee camp. For instance: we read how we can form communities and do outreach. So we formed two sports clubs in the refugee camp bringing all the young people together. The youth are traumatised and often involved in criminal activities.” Currently, around 100 young people attend the sports programmes. Harriet has reached out to women and created a small market garden.